The Handbook of Texas Online
A comprehensive encyclopedia of everything Texas, from the Alamo to Zunkerville, produced by the Texas State Historical Association at the University of Texas. Of particular interest is the History of Texas since World War II, which chronicles Texas’s transformation into a Republican stronghold, the current wave of immigration, and urban sprawl.
History of the Republican Party of Texas
The Republican party tells the tale of its own rise to glory in Texas, from its disorganized beginnings as it struggled to compete with the dominating Democratic party after the Civil War to the present day, in which the party controls nearly 2000 elected offices across the state.
Online News-Hour: A Texas-sized GOP Majority
Since the days of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Texas has undergone a dramatic political shift. What was once a solidly Democratic state is now solidly Republican. Journalist Richard Gambitta delves into American and Texas history to explain the new coalitions and alliances that drove this change.
Online NewsHour: Tussle in Texas
The 2000 census mandated that Texas gain two seats in the House of Representatives to reflect a larger population. Should these new districts go to Democratic or Republican strongholds, and who gets to decide? Reporter Tom Bearden’s coverage of the ensuing crisis, which paralyzed the Texas; legislature in early 2003, is collected here by P.B.S.’s Online NewsHour.
Texas Political Junkie Sites
The Quorum Report
Harvey Kronberg has been reporting on Texas politics in the Quorum Report since 1983. It’s the oldest and one of the most respected newsletters dedicated to Texas politics, and the site is updated daily with non-partisan political news and gossip. Scrutinizing the minutia of state and local politics, its aimed at the politically involved and not the faint-hearted.
The official site of the Texas Government contains general information about Texas and Texas government. Included here are the home pages of elected officials, news, as well as information about Texas’ laws, policies, and governmental services.
Follow the Money: Texas
An excellent site full of facts about campaign finance in Texas state politics, published by the Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan research organization. The Texas portion of the site includes a searchable database of candidates and donors, links to reports that analyze politicians’ spending habits, and much more. See especially the listings for Patrick Rose and Rick Green.
The Texas Association of Businesses
One of the most influential lobby groups in Texas, TAB represents the interests of Texas businesses, and in particular the oil and gas industries. TAB’s stated mission is to “provide a favorable atmosphere for operation and expansion of business enterprises in Texas.”
Republican Party of Texas
Visit the website of the party of Rick Green to get involved with the Republican Party of Texas.
Visit the website of the party of Patrick Rose to get involved with the Texas Democrats.
Also on PBS and NPR
Taking on the Kennedys
It’s baptism by fire when a political underdog takes on the closest thing to American royalty. Joshua Seftel gives us a gritty behind-the-scenes look at neophyte Kevin Vigilante’s campaign against Patrick Kennedy for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The New England physician learns the hard way how modern politics are fought in this Rhode Island race. (1996)
American Experience: George Wallace – Setting the Woods on Fire
This Web site accompanies another film by Paul Stekler about the legendary George Wallace. Four times governor of Alabama, four times a candidate for president, he was feared as a racist demagogue and admired as a politician who spoke his mind. The site includes a timeline of Wallace’s life, maps illustrating his success around the nation, quotes from Wallace, a poll, and a discussion board. (2000)
NOW With Bill Moyers: The Solid South
Patrick Rose’s race was the only race in a Republican-dominated state in which a Democrat defeated an incumbent Republican for a seat in the House. But “Solid South” refers to the Democrats’ hundred-year unflinching grip on the South, from Civil War Reconstruction through the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson. Bill Moyers explores the Democratic “Solid South” and explains the transition that led to today’s political clime. (January 2004)
Online NewsHour’s Vote 2002: The Texas Senate
NewsHour profiles the Democratic and Republican candidates running in 2002 for Texas’s seat in the U.S. Senate: former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who aspired to become Texas’ first black senator and was featured in “Last Man Standing,” and State Attorney General John Cornyn, the eventual winner.
By the People: Election 2004
PBS’s online coverage and analysis of the 2004 election, culled from a variety of PBS programs including NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, NOW with Bill Moyers, and Frontline. The site includes an election calendar, resources for educators, and tips for decoding political ads, polls, slogans, and campaign web sites.
Fresh Air: Robert Bryce, ‘Texas, America’s Superstate’
Writer and reporter Robert Bryce talks about his new book, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America’s Superstate, in which he charts the history of the relationship between the powerful Texas oil industry and politics. His last book, Pipe Dreams, documented the infamous rise and fall of Enron. (June 2004)
The Tavis Smiley Show: Ethnic Politics, Texas Style
Tavis Smiley interviews Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, who would have been the only black member of the U.S. Senate if he had won in 2002. Smiley also speaks to Tony Sanchez, who lost the gubernatorial election. (August 2002)
The Tavis Smiley Show: Texas Redistricting Map Upheld
In January, a special three-judge panel ruled there were no constitutional grounds to intervene in a long, contentious redistricting battle between state Republicans and Democrats. NPR’s Tony Cox reports. (January 2004)
Commentary: Texas War Presidents
Commentator Kevin Phillips notes some striking similarities among the only American presidents from the Lone Star State. Lyndon B. Johnson, George Herber Walker Bush and his son, the current President George W. Bush, all presided over difficult wars and turbulent economies. (January 2004)
All Things Considered: Texas Firmly in GOP Hands
Wade Goodwyn chronicles the dramatic political change that has occurred in Texas. After nurturing such powerful Democrats as Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn, Texas today is dominated by Republicans. The party runs the legislature in Austin, and it counts Rep. Tom DeLay as a powerful ally in Washington. Many expect that the state’s newly adopted redistricting plan will help the GOP increase its influence even more. (October 2003)
Books and Films
Vote for Me: Politics in America
Co-produced by Paul Stekler, this unusual television series takes a look at the weird, dirty, and downright outrageous tactics politicians use to get into office. At the program’s website, you can test your knowledge of novel campaign tactics, download a teacher’s guide to the program, and learn about some of the politicians featured in the show. (1996)
This book by James C. Moore and Wayne Slater takes the reader inside Bush’s brain, or rather into the brain behind Bush — Karl Rove (featured in Last Man Standing). Follow Rove as he deftly transforms a failed Texas oil man into a genteel statesman and a President of the United States. (2003)
Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State
In Gone to Texas, historian Randolph Campbell ranges from the first arrival of humans in the Panhandle some 10,000 years ago to the dawn of the twenty-first century, offering an interpretive account of the land, the successive waves of people who have gone to Texas, and the conflicts that have made Texas as much a metaphor as a place. (2003)
Race and Class in Texas Politics
This major work on Texas politics by Davidson Chandler explores the complicated relations between the politically disorganized Texas blue-collar class and the “rich and the fabulously rich,” whose interests have been protected by “brilliant practitioners of horse trading, guile, the jovial but serious threat, the offer that can’t be refused.” (1990)
Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush
Nationally-syndicated Texan columnist Molly Ivins collaborates with Lou Dubose to take a look at the record of George W. Bush back when he was running for President in 2002. Beginning with his post-college military career, the authors track Bush’s winding, sometimes unlikely path from a failed congressional bid to a two-term governorship. (2000)
The Rise of Southern Republicans
The emergence of formidable Republican strength in the previously solid Democratic South has generated a novel and highly competitive national battle for control of Congress. Tracing the slow and difficult rise of Republicans in the South over five decades, Earl and Merle Black tell the remarkable story of political upheaval. (2002)